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    Innovation and Grants Department

  • Innovation and Grants Department

    The Peoria Public Schools' Innovation and Grants Office provides unique opportunities for students. Currently, the department is managing over $18 million dollars in competitive grant money providing for after-school, weekend, summer, and daytime activities as well as academic supports for students. These monies range from paid student internships and job salaries to additional educational support for academic and social-emotional development. Specializing in personalizing learning for students, the Innovation Team works to identify unique learning experiences for students for an enhanced education. 

    The Innovation and Grants Office also oversees the Career and Technical Education program at Woodruff. The Career and Technical programs offer dual credit and high school credit to help your student on their way to a career right after high school or entry into college or technical school. Visit the Woodruff website and click on programs to learn more about the wide range of offerings:  Woodruff Career and Technical Education. Students attend Woodruff a portion of the day with the rest of the day in their home high school.

    Virtual Peoria

    The Online Learning Academy has expanded developed into Virtual Peoria. Contact Barb Closen for K-8 programming or see website information. For more information about having your students taking online programs for high school credit recovery, acceleration, or program needs, contact your student's high school counselor. For K-8 programs, contact Barbara.Closen@psd150.org.   

    Cyber-Security Certificate - Informational Technology Dual Credit Program

    The Cyber-Security/IT programming class may be taken in person at Woodruff Career and Technical Education Center or on-your-own with weekly teacher check in meetings. By the end of the four courses, students will earn their Cyber-Security Certification and can be hired at most any business with a robust IT system at high wages. Students may earn up to four industry-recognized credentials. This is a high-demand career field, especially for Central Illinois. For more information, go to the Woodruff Career and Technical Education page. 

    Office Occupations

    Is your student interested in secretarial, clerical, reception, customer service, court reporting, or data entry to name a few occupations? Then, this set of courses may be for them. With the opportunity to earn several industry-recognized credentials, this high-demand career field is well-paying. Peoria Public Schools is willing to hire successful candidates in various departments or schools.  For more information, go to the Woodruff Career and Technical Education page. 

    AP Computer Science through Amazon

    Students wishing to take an AP Computer Science class for credit, for interest, or to just gain more information, may want to select our AP Computer Science classes from Mr. William Smith. A new group begins each fall. This year, 2022-2023, we have added CS Python Essentials. Students work at their own speed and have weekly access to the teacher. After this class, students may want to consider the IT CyberSecurity courses as a next pathway. See link on left side of the page for more information and registration directions.


    Peoria Public Schools started IHSA Sanctioned ESports Teams in February of 2022. Teams are situated at each high school with the first teams competing in their first state tournament in April of 2022. For more information, contact the athletic director at your student's high school. To donate to expand and support the program, contact the athletic director or visit the Peoria Public Schools Foundation for donations. 


    Peoria Public Schools offers a robust early college program. Whether students want to earn some dual credits in career and technical education (CTE), general education courses for freshmen year of college, or want to earn an associates degree as a high school junior and senior, we have the right program for your student. Our students take dual credit courses during the school day or may transfer in credits from evening classes. The D2 dual degree program, for junior and senior year, is designed for students to earn an associates degree in arts or science, covers all tuition, and has students on ICC campus all day. A new "Senior Year at ICC," program takes place in 2023-2024. Contact high school counselors for more information or see links to the left. The application process for all dual credit begins in mid-fall semester of sophomore or junior year depending on program. 

Competitive Grants

  • Ready-Set-Go:  Full Service Community Schools

    Ready-Set-Go program, located at Annie Jo Gordon (Harrison) and The Elise Ford Allen (Roosevelt) provides students with academic and social-emotional supports during the day and academic support and student activities afterschool. Contact Brandy.Bryant@psd150.org for more information.  Funding for this grant comes from the Department of Education Community Schools programs. 


  • Lights On Peoria:  Climate Transformation Grant

    The Lights On Peoria program, provides academic intervention to freshmen at Peoria and Manual High Schools, job and career readiness preparations, social-emotional supports, and weekend activities. Contact Tagwana.Webster@psd150.org for more information. Funding for this grant comes from the Department of Education Community Schools and Promise Neighborhoods programs.

  • IYIP (Woodruff Career and Technical Grant)

    The Illinois Youth Investment Program grant allows our students to prepare for careers by receiving career coaching, credential development and attainment, and paid internships. These grants have been life changers for hundreds of students. Funding for these grants are made possible through the (IYIP) Ilinois Youth Investment Program, Department of Human Services (https://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=126652). To provide internships or job shadow experiences for students, contact Sarah.Chapman@psd150.org. Not sure? This Employer Guide can provide you with an overview. 

  • Solar Energy: Edwards Settlement Grants

    The first grant provided for 545 solar panels to be installed on the Woodruff Career and Technical Center roof. This should pay for up to almost 36% of Woodruff's current energy usage. The second grant fund provides for students as to earn credentials in Renewable Energy Careers. For more information, contact:  Arnold.Spiker@psd150.org or instructor 

    Michael.Brix@psd150.org. The funding for this grant was made possible from an environmental lawsuit between the Sierra Club and the Edwards Plant.

  • Clubs of 21st Century and Let's Connect:  21st Century Schools Programs

    The 21st Century programs, located at Manual, Trewyn, Glen Oak, Von Steuben, Lincoln, and Sterling, offers afterschool tutoring, STEM activities, and recreational activities to students. Contact Alona.Dawson@psd150.org for the first three schools and Jennifer.Welch-Farrell@psd150.org for the last three schools. Funding for the program comes through the State of Illinois from Federal funding for community schools.



  • R3: Restore, Reinvest, and Renew

    The R3 Grant delivers services from students in middle school through adults. Located through the Peoria Public Schools Wraparound Center, the R3 grant provides legal services to families, self-regulation and social-emotional health, support for juveniles in the justice system, proactive health programs for middle school students, mentoring programs for ninth grade students and up, and counseling and addiction services. For more information, see the Wraparound Center tab on the Peoria Public Schools website, or email Derrick.Booth@psd150.org or James.McCoy@psd150.org. Funding for this grant has been made possible through the State of Illinois (ICIJA).


  • Freedom School Grant  

    The Freedom Grant implemented beginning in December of 2022, focuses on building leadership and community advocacy skills in middle school students with a special focus on the Civil Rights Movement. Students work with mentors to learn about African American History, Hispanic History, as they also learn about current events through experiences throughout the region, state, and nation. For more information contact, Jennifer.Welch-Farrell@psd150.org. This grant is funding through the Illinois State Board of Education. To learn more please click  Freedom Schools Grant above.

    Educator Pathway Grant

    This grant provides for the start up of high school and dual credit courses, job shadow experiences, and a variety of career exploration for students interested in early childhood, elementary, or high school teaching. In partnership with ICC, WIU, ISU, BU and Eureka, the pathway allows for college visits and conference attendance for high school students interested in becoming a teacher or paraprofessional. Talk to school counselors about how to get involved or email Dr. Grzanich at innovation@psd150.org to set up an appointment. This grant is funded through the Illinois State Board of Education.

    Parent Mentor Grant with Friendship House

    Implemented at Elise Ford Allen (Roosevelt) and at Lincoln, parents apply and are trained to be reading mentors with students. Parents are able to earn a stipend. For more information, please contact Friendship House https://www.friendship.house/.